Ex-Celtics' point guard Gary Payton watched on television from his Las Vegas home Wednesday night as his former team lost to the Pistons. And once Chauncey Billups hit the winning free throws with a tenth of a second remaining, Payton called his agent.
"He called me and said, 'Hey, I'm reminding you that the Celtics are a team I feel like I can help,' " said agent Aaron Goodwin.
The Celtics have been pleased with the play of second-year point guard Rajon Rondo. But there has been a feeling that Boston still needs a veteran backup at the position.
Coach Doc Rivers said the Celtics "would be in trouble" if Rondo got hurt, but he also likes his roster. Rivers said he hasn't talked to anyone in Celtics' management about Payton. Goodwin said that while he has talked to Danny Ainge several times about Payton, the Celtics' basketball boss hasn't shown strong interest. Other available veteran free agent point guards include Earl Boykins and Keith McLeod.
"I like my team, and I would kind of like to play this a little bit longer and see where we go," said Rivers. "Clearly [Wednesday] night, when Rajon was off the floor it changed the game. But we have ways of correcting that. If not, then maybe. But right now we'll just let this team play it out a little bit more."
"We're not panicking. Having said that, we're aware of it; there is no doubt about it. I'm just going to coach the ones now, and we'll worry about the other stuff later."